The Big Picture

Were you at the big game this weekend? Prove it! 

Now you can with new emerging technology powered by Replay Photos. This company, launched in 2003 as a way for athletic organizations to generate revenue using photography. Founder Sue Harnett says, “I love having the opportunity to work with athletic departments, universities and a variety of affinity groups to create fun product lines for their fans and followers while generating new and needed income sources that go back to support scholarships and programs.” The Web based company has partnered with ESPN’s College GameDay to power the Cheez-It Real Fan Cam. College GameDay, the popular Saturday morning show that films live from the site of the week’s best match-up, encourages fans to come to the taping, bring a sign, and cheer for their favorite team. People are often seen in the crowd with signs touting their Web sites or messages to their friends or family. Think the Today Show of ESPN. Replay Photos has helped those in the crowd share their message through a medium that isn’t so fleeting or temporary. The Cheez-It Real Fan Cam takes an interactive, panoramic, high-resolution photo of the crowd that is then uploaded to the College GameDay site. Once there, fans can tag themselves in the photo and post their image to Facebook or Twitter. 

Along very similar lines, Major League Baseball has provided its fans with a similar service called TagORamic. Their photos encompass the entire grandstands around the infield. People can zoom in on their sections, and tag themselves at the game. This service is sponsored by GigaPan, a service that “allows users to upload and share high resolution panoramic photos from around the globe”

I am really impressed by this technology. I remember taking panoramic pictures with my entire middle school student body where we had to sit still for 30 seconds on some rickety risers as the camera panned the group. Now that we have the technology to take these photos in just seconds, it is pretty remarkable. Part of the sport product that marketers are tasked with selling is the sense of community you feel when you associate with a team. This technology capitalizes on that feeling by allowing you to connect with other fans – tagging yourself in the same photo with thousands of other like-minded  sports fans. 

Sure this probably appeals to most fans equally, but a study by Pixable that covered over 100k Facebook users discovered that women upload at least twice as many pictures to the site. Here is just a segment of their infographic:

While this technology and interaction may appeal to both sexes, based on this information, sports marketers could leverage this as a way to connect with potential female sports fans.

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